MADISON — This is no fish tale and experienced angler Tyler Burzenski has the photos to prove it.
While fishing off the rocks on Middle Beach Road Burzenski felt a tug — and then a bigger tug. After struggling to reel in his catch, he hauled in a 46-inch long striped bass, weighing over 30 pounds.
“My scale only went up to 30 pounds and it maxed out the scale,” he says.
A lifelong fisherman, the 24-year-old usually fishes off the rocks at Hammonasset State Park. Yet, on Wednesday, Sept. 25 it was lucky that he was threw his line out, with a piece of shad on the hook, off the rocks on Middle Beach Road.
His usual catch is smaller stripers, sea robins and porgies.
“To be honest, I thought I hooked a seal at first, because I’m using a pretty heavy duty set up. It’s a 11-foot surf rod with a reel that’s essentially made for tuna,” he recalls.
“This thing, for five minutes straight, just kept pulling my drag,” he says. “It wouldn’t stop.
“I was thinking maybe it’s a seal or maybe a brown shark,” he says. “I was just shocked to see a striped bass because I’ve never fought a fish for that long and it put up a heck of a fight.”
This catch is the biggest he has ever pulled in and the fish was not easy to get to shore. With no net and a line that was being pulled past its weight limit, Burzenski had to get creative when getting the fish out of water.
“When I got him close to the rocks, he kind of went berserk and he popped himself off the leader,” he says. “He broke my line right at the rocks.
“So, I threw my rod down on the ground and I jumped in the water and kind of scooped him up in my hands and then threw him up on the land,” he adds. “It was really nerve wracking.”
To celebrate, Burzenski is hosting a party, complete with grilled striped bass, for 12 of his closest buddies.